“When man's aspirations meet a child's dreams, personal fulfillment is finally attained.” Gilles Lavandera.
For as long as I can remember, I see a little boy who dreamed incredible things. What my young creative mind imagined, my left hand would draw them and "adroitly" carve them in modelling clay. Humorous parenthesis: There is no such french word as "gauchely", as everyone knows all left-handed people are clumsy! As I grew up, I diversified the pleasures that give free rein to one's imagination. I built a consequent number of plastic models of all kinds. Then, I designed more personal and functional creations with matches and Japanese paper!
A sudden interest in girls' skirts kept me away from cutters, glue tubes and other paint pots between the ages of 13 and 17...
My hands wanted to take my life direction, but my mind decided otherwise. I joined the air force at 17 as a ground mechanic. I spent 25 exciting years in the French Air Force. I left the army at 43 captain (retired commander) because I was getting bored. I needed a new challenge. As a family father with two teenagers in high school, I had to ensure their safety. For 11 years, I threw myself body and soul into various jobs as a technical team manager in the automotive and aeronautics industries. With the same conclusion for all jobs, none of them brought me the personal and professional fulfilment I was looking for.
Then, at the 2017 end, painful and unforeseen circumstances led to an existential questioning. I made introspection and asked myself the "right questions" about what I wanted to do with my life. I looked at my hands (which I had occupied from time to time so that they wouldn't rust and get bored) and told them that I wouldn't let them down anymore. At 56, I decided to dedicate my last "professional act" to what I know how to do best: designing, drawing, creating and making original artistic objects.
I'm a pure self-taught person; I have always been interested in everything related to technology and art crafts. My working motto is "With a valiant heart, a curious mind and skilled hands, nothing is impossible!" When I don't know the working techniques, I get informed, watch videos, take classes and go on an adventure. Many tests and adjustments are often necessary to achieve my goals. I design and draw my own plans because the functional miniaturization imperatives impose tools and different manufacturing methods from those of the real scale. All these parameters lead to long manufacturing times. Each miniature weapon is built entirely by hand, with passion and care, using conventional machine tools.
I conclude this short presentation with a humorous quotation faithful to my French craftsman image “Southerner – Latin” and talkative who speaks by waving his hands:
“It's when I let my hands speak that I say least amount nonsense!”
I wish you a pleasant trip to my childhood dreams land. Gilles Lavandera